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Service Number Prefixes

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    Service Number Prefixes

    I've had a few PMs with regards to this subject, so I thought I'd start an entirely new thread on the subject. As ever, it's been a case of rummaging about to find the information - a situation not helped by the fact that most of my stuff is in Manchester. As you can see, it's a subject in its own right. They're very handy if the service number is the only information one has available to identify an individual. And even if the prefixes are non-specific, e.g. A, the block numbers allocated to each unit should be sufficient to identify which unit an individual served in.

    A - ASC (Old Special Reserve).

    A - KRRC (Early wartime recruits).

    A - RSF, Cameronians & AOC.

    B - 26/RF (City of London Bankers).

    B - KRRC, Rifle Brigade & Cameronians.

    C - KRRC (16th Battalion onwards).

    C - 1/R Munster Fus. (Garrison Bn.), Middx. Regt. & Rifle Brigade.

    CHT - Corps of Horse Transport - ASC.

    CMT - Corps of Motor Transport - ASC.

    D - Dragoons & Dragoon Guards.

    DG - Dragoon Guards.

    DM - Driver MT - ASC.

    E - 17/RF (Empire Battalion).

    F - 17 & 23/Middx. Regt. (Football Battalions).

    G - 1, 2 & 3/RIF (Garrison Battalions).

    G - Prefix found on various Home Counties regiments (Service Battalions).

    GS - See above.

    GS - Cavalry regiments (War service only).

    GS - General Service.

    H - Hussars.

    J - 38, 39 & 40/RF (Jewish Battalions).

    K - Royal Lancaster Regt. (The King's Own) & Cambridgeshire Regt.

    L - Lancers.

    L - Prefix found on various Home Counties regiments (Regulars).

    L - 3/SWB.

    M1 - MT Section - ASC.

    M2 - Electricians - ASC.

    MS - Mechanical Specials (trade) - ASC.

    MT - Mechanical Transport (trade) - ASC.

    N - RAMC.

    O - Rifle Brigade.

    P - Military Police.

    P - Dragoon Guards.

    PS - 18, 19, 20 & 21/RF and 16/Middx. Regt. (Public School Battalions).

    PW - 18, 19 & 26/Middx. Regt. (Public Works Battalions - later Labour Corps).

    R - Remount Section - ASC.

    R - KRRC (later recruits up to 16th Bn.), also Manchester Regiment.

    RX - Remount Section - ASC.

    S - Supply - ASC.

    S - Highland Regiments (wartime enlistments).

    S - Home counties regiments (3rd [Militia] Battalions).

    S - Rifle Brigade, Dorset Regt., R Munster Fus., AOC, RA & RAMC.

    SB - 10/RF (City of London Stockbrokers Battalion).

    SD - 11, 12 & 13/R Sussex Regt. (South Downs Battalions).

    SE - Army Veterinary Corps (Special Enlistment for duration).

    SPTS - 23 & 24/RF (Sportsmans' Battalions).

    SS - Supply Special (trade) - ASC

    STK - 10/RF (City of London Stockbrokers Battalion).

    T1, T2, T3 & T4 - Horse Transport - ASC.

    T - Army Ordnance Corps.

    T - Territorial Force.

    TF - Territorial Force.

    TS - Transport Specials (trade) - ASC.

    TSR - Transport Special Reserve - ASC.

    W - 13/Cheshire Regt. (Wirral).

    W - 38th (Welsh) Divn. Royal Artillery.

    WR - Royal Engineers (Waterways & Railways).

    Y - KRRC (early wartime enlistments).

    Z - Rifle Brigade.

    If anyone has problems decyphering the battalion & regimental numbering system, e.g. 13/RF (13th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers), don't hesitate to ask.
    Last edited by Tony Farrell; 11-05-2003, 06:18 PM.

    Well done Tony, thanks for the post. I had only seen the “S” prefix used in context with what I’m interested in collecting - medals to one of the Highland Regiments, I hadn’t realised it was also used by other Rgt/Corps - cheers for clearing that up.

    Anyone know the meaning of any of the R.N.R. and R.N.V.R. prefixes?


      This should answer your question with regards to RNR & RNVR prefixes:


        Hi Tony,

        Excellent information to have, the membership is endebted to you.

        As for Canadian WWI medals, the vast majority don't have prefixes. Initially some numbers had an "A" prefix, however, this was altered to a "4" sometime during the course of the war. Thus one does find medals named A-12345, etc and otherse 412345, etc even in the same group. I have a few examples and will try to get them on here just for interest sake.



        P/S got a nice new group to show ya, ol' fruit!


          Thanks Tony,
          this helps us newbies


            Hello Tony,

            Thanks for posting the info. I have seen a few of these prefixes before but I've never found anything on them myself in the past.

            I do have one with the prefix J but he was in the RN and not the RF. Could he have been a Jewish member of the navy?



              No, the RN used a totally different numbering system. The J prefix denotes he was either a Seaman or a Communications Rating - radioman, signaller etc.


                When I joined the RN in 1969 I was given a 6 digit number 113*** as my 'official number. Being MUT (Man under training) I did not have a welfare authority. On completion of training, had the system remained my official number would have been prefixed either D/ for Devonport or P/ for Portsmouth. As it happened this did not happen with the computerisation of Naval Pay and records and in 1970 my number became D113***R. The prefix and suffix numbers have no significance now whatsoever except to a computer.
                Also the o/n does not give a clear year of entry arond that time as people joining in the entry before me were in the 108*** block and YMUT over the road were in the 12**** block.
                As Tony says the RN had it's own system, which seems to have changed with great frequency, any official number with a prefix P/, D/, or L/, denotes a welfare authority, Portsmouth, Devonport or Lee-on Solent(WAFUs).
                Typically these numbers were P/MX****** or D/JX******, denoting welfare authority and trade.
                Previous to this was P/******, denoting only the welfare authority.
                Even earlier (around WW1 time) only six digits were in use, if only 3 digits are seen on a medal etc, these are the last three digits of the official number.
                (subject to change as I delve deeper into this)


                  Service No. Prefixes

                  Hello Tony, brilliant thread,thank you.

                  Can you help with this one please? F.X 93118 - details are taken off an I.D disc - could be E.X but I don't think so, it's a bit of a bad striking, hope ya can help, best wishes, Michael.
                  Last edited by Tony Farrell; 09-02-2004, 07:49 PM.


                    That sounds like a Fleet Air Arm number. I've tried to simplify the naval numbering system, but have given up on it for the time being, due to ongoing work in other areas. Watch this space.



                      I have this nr: 4752379 Is this an id nr? and if so could someone tell me more?


                        Originally posted by _The_General_

                        I have this nr: 4752379 Is this an id nr? and if so could someone tell me more?
                        If WWII period then it's within the block of numbers issued to The York & Lancaster Regiment as from 1939 (4736001 - 4792000).


                          Originally posted by leigh kitchen
                          If WWII period then it's within the block of numbers issued to The York & Lancaster Regiment as from 1939 (4736001 - 4792000).
                          Thanks for the reply. It is wwII, most likely around 44. Where should i go to find more info?


                            Originally posted by _The_General_
                            Thanks for the reply. It is wwII, most likely around 44. Where should i go to find more info?
                            There are'nt really any avenues to follow regarding the man who goes with the number as you can't check records of the individual unless you're next of kin, & it'd be hard with the number & not the name.
                            Check unit histories or books about the operations involving the British army in the area concerned for general details, but you're probably not going to make any progress on identifying the individual.
                            Perhaps the old regimental museum? (The regiment was disbanded in 1969 as it did'nt want to amalgamate with other regiments).


                              Tony & Leigh,

                              I have several pairs of British tropical Khaki shorts that were captured in Africa by a German LW Flak NCO. He converted a British Tropical four pocket tunic into a German Tunic. The Tunic has LW NCO tress, flak tabs and sewn in flak NCO shoulder boards and German buttons. I found a bag full of tropical Khaki and some captured french items as well. The khaki shorts are marked with the following. W.X. 2382 D. Ferguson, W.X. 2431 W. Thomas, and the third pair marked 2318 Mooney. Is there anyway to possibly identify whether these British soldiers survived or might possibly have been Killed in action in Africa. Cheers! Bill


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